News Release

Church Leaders Minister to Liberian Mayor Whose Son Died in Explosion

Last month’s gas tanker explosion killed 89 people and severely burned nearly 100 more

During a multiday visit to Liberia, members of the Africa West Area Presidency were driving through Totota and felt impressed to stop at the site of a recent gas tanker explosion. Africa West Area President Elder S. Gifford Nielsen and Second Counselor Elder Alfred Kyungu were pleased that Mayor Clinton Brown was in the city office. They spent a half hour ministering to the mayor, whose oldest son, Issac, died in the explosion. President Emmanuel T. Gbondo of the Totota 1st Branch of the Church was also unexpectedly there at the time of their arrival to provide comfort.   

“We are on an eternal journey. I promise you that you will see Isaac again,” Elder Nielsen said on Tuesday, January 16, 2024. “We teach about eternal family relationships. And as hard as it is to have a separation right now, I promise you that you will see Isaac again.”

The tragedy occurred on December 26, 2023, just 300 yards away from a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse. Church leaders turned the building into a hospital for burn victims and brought in a medical doctor until the local hospital was ready to welcome them. The Church also donated food and medical supplies for victims and their families.

“You see how the Lord is blessing us,” Elder Kyungu said. “I’m witnessing how the Lord’s hands and the Holy Ghost is leading His people.”

Elders Nielsen and Kyungu prayed with Mayor Brown.

“We prayed for him in a circle, standing in front of his office,” Elder Kyungu said. “We prayed for his life, his family, and his wife. Spiritually, we came with the support, with the prayers, with the feelings and the compassion and the love that we expressed to him and his family. He represented all those who lost loved ones.”

Before they parted, Elder Nielsen pledged the Area Presidency’s ongoing support to Mayor Brown.

“We will continue to pray for you,” Elder Nielsen told the mayor, whose office is next door to the meetinghouse. “We will continue to support this community. We will be here for you. We are working with the World Food Programme on some other initiatives. We care deeply about you.

“Brother,” Elder Nielsen said, “I love you.”

The leaders of the Church in West Africa were with World Food Programme (WFP) officials on a weeklong field trip across parts of Liberia. They witnessed firsthand how the Church’s collaboration with WFP is helping Liberians.

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